Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I miss Green Lantern: Mosaic

Was there ever anything so beautifully absurd as that series? The real beauty was in the consistent strangeness of the series. They could make anything fit.

Take Ch'p, for example. Here's Ch'p from the regular series:

Now, Ch'p was always kind of a Disney reference, and (as above) he'd be oddly cartoonish no matter who was drawing him and he was cute but it seemed to me he didn't fit in the far out space-setting of the Green Lantern Corps. Why not? Because he was too much of an Earth-cultural symbol. This was not only a creature that was native to earth, but personified in a wholly human tradition. He walked out of a human cartoon.

This is a fun idea, I am totally for Ch'p solo stories, but it was different with him in the ensemble cast. See, when it comes to creating a cohesive space opera feel he gets problematic. Ch'p was a character that was out of place in the classic pulp scifi stories that some writers tried to tell. He broke the mood. He took me out of the story. He was too Earthly and too cute to fit. (This happens less often with Arisia, but when you get the wrong artist and characterization, and they overload her with cuteness she can be a bit off in much the same way. Too earthly, too much of a fantasy cultural reference. Just plain not weird enough or grand enough for a sweeping space epic.)

I honestly didn't think Ch'p would work as part of anyone else's story (again, Ch'p-only stories are a different matter), until I saw him in Green Lantern Mosaic #2:

How miraculously appropriate is that panel?

No one has ever managed Ch'p so incredibly absurd and suitably alien as Cully Hamner did in that issue. He fit perfectly into the story without breaking the weight of the tale or bringing the reader too back to human culture, and part of it was just in how he was drawn. That was one freaking weird series that somehow managed to keep a straight face no matter what came into it.

I'm not saying it I suddenly loved Ch'p because Jones and Hamner made him all dark and serious. Yes, they did make him dark and serious, but it was a tongue-in-cheek thing (Think Morrison's Doom Patrol). The series kept a straight face while you giggled not only at the inclusion of Ch'p, but at the mind-dissolving oddness of the entire setting and story and the fact that all of it worked perfectly together!

Honestly, its a shame about that yellow truck (yes, I am totally serious) because Ch'p really worked in that setting without breaking the mood. That's tough with a cute character that's a cultural in-joke.

Of course, that's part of the absurdity, isn't it?


  1. Poor Ch'p. What a way to go. Gosh I mis Mosaic, it was just so...bizarre, and yet so compelling at the same time. Jones really touched on some weird stuff, but it WORKED!

    That, and it's always fun seeing somebody slap down Hal.

    Good portrayal of Ch'p though. At least they got rid of that ridiculous bowtie. Although I was oddly fond of his little overalls. I wish that Osh'kosh's had had some of those when my kids were little.

  2. I've noticed Ch'p or another member of his species popping up in GLC from time to time. If any event deserved to be Superboy-punched, it was that stupid yellow truck.

  3. We had Gerard Jones in our shop for a signing around the time Green Lantern Mosaic was being published, so I was lucky enough to tell him in person how much I loved that series. (I also asked him to pass along my compliments to Sidney Mellon, but that's another story.)

  4. Green Lantern: Mosaic was a wonderful series, the closest to a Vertigo title we got in the regular DCU. And while it probably is easy to sweep it under the rug, as John just being delusional, I keep wishing and hoping that Geoff and/or Dave will pick up some threads from that series (such as John being a Human/Guardian mix and Katma Tui).

  5. I've noticed Ch'p or another member of his species popping up in GLC from time to time.

    Yeah, that's B'dg.

  6. The thing about Geoff Johns remembering your favorite thing, is that he may remember it long enough to decapitate it.

    But he did bring Arisia back, so that's a plus.

  7. I always rather liked Brian Bolland's take on Ch'p in the Green Lantern Corps in the original Who's Who.

    Nice post. I seriously need to investigate that series.

  8. In the Green Lantern Corps entry, that is...

  9. Ah, but Dan, without the Rolling Head of Pantha (TM), there'd be no Rolling Head of Pantha song! There'd be no Loyal Order of the Rolling Head of Pantha! Whatever would become of us?

  10. That *is* an excellent imagining of a believable GL squirrel.


    I've seen male squirrels. They have big huge hangin' balls. The Hal Jordan of squirrels would have record-breakers, I'm sure.

  11. Obviously the Sinestro War is being lost because they brought back almost every dead Green Lantern *except* for Ch'p. With out his awesomeness the universe is DOOOMED!